How Influencers are driving e-commerce and retail sales in 2020

Kelsey Formost

13 Jul 2020 · 2 min read

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It’s a disruptive time for retail and e-commerce as digital spending habits around the world skyrocket due in large part to the global pandemic and store closures. The long term growth of digital retail sales is difficult to predict, but in their 2020 Marketing Report, Emarketer projects an 18% yearly growth in e-commerce spending in the US.

Stay-at-home public safety orders combined with Facebook’s leap into e-commerce with the launch of ‘Shops’ provide the perfect backdrop for this major shift from in-person to digital transactions.

As the world adapts to online consumerism, influencers provide brands with valuable audience insights and a direct line to their ideal customers.

A Perfectly Primed Online Audience

Brands who are looking to launch or grow their e-commerce or social media shops are finding influencer marketing to be an excellent solution for driving sales. Influencers are able to use their platforms to drive traffic to partners’ retail sites, and more specifically, to products that their audience is primed to enjoy.

The benefit of working with an influencer over placing an ad is the ability to tap into a dialed-in audience who already trust the messenger. Data shows that in 2020 consumers are trending towards buying more from reliable brands, retailers, and personalities they already know, like, and trust.

Long-term influencer partnerships show higher ROI

With influencers driving direct traffic and sales through their platforms, the ability to discover the perfect creators for ongoing partnerships has become crucial. To get the most value out of those partnerships, brands need to look at the granular behind the scenes data in order to put their product or service in front of the right audiences for maximum ROI.

As consumers rely more and more on word of mouth marketing rather than self-testing products, the opinion of trusted online creators holds even more weight. If an influencer repeatedly recommends a product, their audience grows to trust the product, just as they grew to trust the influencer in the first place.

Brands who cultivate long-term partnerships with aligned influencers will see a higher rate of engagement and sales that grows over time.

A Digital Spending Future

Without in-person shopping, influencers are the bridge between entertainment and sales. Brick and mortar store closures have forced consumers to form new online spending habits for everything from groceries to clothing to home improvement and beyond. Notably, there’s an influx of online consumers in older age groups, namely a 12% increase in shoppers over 65, who otherwise may not have adapted as quickly to a digital economy.

Additionally, there’s been a rise in the number of “kidfluencers”. While the youngest demographic may not be the ones doing the actual purchasing, the way brands reach youth is certainly changing and affecting the market’s overall spending picture.

All signs point to new digital spending habits being formed at a rapid rate, habits that most are predicting will stick in a post-pandemic economy. In that new economy, it’s extremely wise for brands to implement a robust influencer marketing program early on to ensure they’re consistently getting in front of the right audiences to drive sales.

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